Pacific Asia Museum


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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
Translations Chinese Simple Chinese Traditional Japanese Korean Espanol
USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Tokonoma

 

A tokonoma is a special alcove in a Japanese room that allows for the display of artworks like painted scrolls and ikebana that are in harmony with events such as seasons, tea ceremonies and the owner’s personal aesthetics.  This space in the museum’s Japanese gallery has been modified to loosely suggest some of the functions and features of the tokonoma, including the display of ikebana, or Japanese flower arrangements. Southern California has a rich culture of this floral arranging tradition and many of the schools of this discipline are represented in the region, reflecting the long legacy of Japanese-Americans in southern California as well as those interested in Japanese arts and culture. We are pleased to collaborate with several of these groups in order to share their unique expressions of this tradition. In a regular rotation, we feature the arrangements of the Ikenobo, Ohara and Sogetsu schools.

Ikenobo, the oldest of the schools, traces its development back to early Buddhist practices of making offerings of flowers at altars and continues to thrive while maintaining a continuity with tradition. The Ohara school, developed by Unshin Ohara in the late 19th century and officially founded in 1912, brought elements of modernism to the practice of ikebana.  The Sogetsu school, founded by Sofu Teshigahara in 1927, continues the expression of this revered Japanese artform. By regularly visiting this gallery and observing the rotating ikebana installations, you can begin to learn more about the three schools, their similarities and distinctions, through direct observation. The ongoing dedication of teachers and students of these three schools, enhance the practice of ikebana locally and our exhibitions currently on view in the gallery, as each of their arrangements respond to the art on view as well as the qualities of the seasons.